West Seattle hatchet job? Tree takedown in front of Madison

(WSB photos by Christopher Boffoli)
Thanks go to Lynda and Nancy for alerting us to this sad sight: Two young trees destroyed in front of Madison Middle School (north of the main entrance path, as the top photo shows). When we heard about it, we wondered if it was related to our recent bouts of wind, but Christopher Boffoli went over for photos and reports it’s clear they were taken down by a hatchet or pick-axe. (Note the debris in the next photo.)

We have a message out to police to ask if this has been reported and whether any other vandalism’s been reported in the area; no reply yet, but we’ll add any more information we get. (If you’re wondering when it happened – sometime before midnight, which is when Lynda’s note came in.)

35 Replies to "West Seattle hatchet job? Tree takedown in front of Madison"

  • Bill December 21, 2010 (11:04 am)

    Don’t know if it helps, but I was walking my dog in front of the school around 5:30 yesterday evening and did not notice the trees down.

  • Baba December 21, 2010 (11:08 am)

    If I saw it happening, I would be in the Big House this morning on murder charges…

  • Slider December 21, 2010 (11:44 am)

    The sad part is that the school/district doesn’t have the extra money so the trees will never be replaces.

  • elisa December 21, 2010 (11:53 am)

    trees are cheap. would be lovely if parents or someone could do a fund raiser and work party – or ask one of the local nurseries to donate trees.

    what a shame. I hate tree butchers.

  • Vanessa December 21, 2010 (11:57 am)

    Karma, kids, Karma. Look it up. You awful little brats. I try not to think, eye for an eye, but I do hope you get what you deserve….

  • 2wheels a-go-go December 21, 2010 (11:58 am)

    It was probably George Washington.

  • RainyDay1235 December 21, 2010 (11:58 am)

    2 very large branches of one of our trees in front was taken down 2 days ago….wondering now if it wasn’t just a tall truck but a hatchet job too…

  • LyndaB December 21, 2010 (12:29 pm)

    When I drove by it last night, it just didn’t look right. I knew it was the work of some non-treelovers. What did they ever do to you!?!?!

  • LR December 21, 2010 (12:48 pm)

    What kind of tress are they ?

  • Kelly December 21, 2010 (12:51 pm)

    They may be relatively inexpensive but they are highly valuable:

    I’d love to assess a $90,000 fine to the people who did it.

  • Westie December 21, 2010 (1:18 pm)

    I’m no CSI agent or anything, but looks like there are shoe prints in the mud next to the tree. Wouldn’t parents like to know size and brand of the kid (assumed) that did this?

  • LR December 21, 2010 (1:19 pm)

    So what is the name of the tress them selfs ?

  • christopherboffoli December 21, 2010 (1:29 pm)

    I have no idea who did this, but I’m not so sure it was “kids.” If anyone has ever taken a hatchet to green wood before, you’d know that unless you have a really sharp edge it is harder than it looks to chop down even a small tree. Looking at all of the individual chop marks on those trees this morning, I could see that whoever took down those trees was motivated to finish the task, on not just one but two trees. This vandalism was not as easy as spray painting something or breaking glass with a rock. Whoever did this was patient and quiet enough not to wake anyone in the dozen or so houses that are across the street.
    It is only speculation, but my guess would be someone with a grudge of some kind against the school. Or perhaps some disgruntled beavers from Longfellow creek.

  • LR December 21, 2010 (1:31 pm)

    I think that we should do some kind of fundraiser and replace the trees.
    who ever did it may feel terrible now. Cant undo what happen but just replace it , hope for it not to happen aging

  • CitizenR December 21, 2010 (1:37 pm)

    This is a regular happening around West Seattle! I see it all the time! Youth seems to think it’s ok to destroy things if they belong to someone else! (sometimes even their own stuff!) Because someone will replace it or it’s not important and it was “fun” … so sad … someday they may grow-up!

  • LR December 21, 2010 (2:31 pm)

    Yup but for now , be nice to fix this so when the children get back to school they feel safe .
    Who ever it they may be caught or not, nice to have the children feel safe and not worry about this just have the adults take care of it for now

  • RarelyEver December 21, 2010 (2:57 pm)

    So stupid. I hope they find out who did this and fine the hell out of that person. Poor trees. Senseless destruction of a living organism – this just totally killed my holiday spirit. :(

  • Alki resident December 21, 2010 (3:32 pm)

    Karma sucks for whomever did this.

  • wolfbain December 21, 2010 (4:04 pm)

    Don`t let things like this ruin your day. Let the damage thats been done stop where it`s been done, at the trees. Perhaps a positive outcome is possible. I know it is. If you get angry at boys doing distructive, dumb things your gonna be one misirable s.o.b. When I think about punishment if they get caught I don`t think a fine is the thing the parents deserve. The boys (I,m assuming its boys) should be forced to dig up the roots with shovels and replant trees. Remember what happened to the wealthy guy from Black Diamond who stole the totem pole last winter, NOTHING! Now thats something to feel angry about.

  • Paul December 21, 2010 (4:28 pm)

    If they will take an axe to a tree I shutter to think what or who else they would to. Please people if you hear or see something suspect call 911

  • LB December 21, 2010 (5:03 pm)

    We had 2 trees mysteriously cut also. It was a vacant rental in White Center. I can’t imagine who would do this!!

  • NotMe December 21, 2010 (5:46 pm)

    THIS incident totally killed your holiday spirit? I feel kinda bad for you, and suspect you may have already been feeling a little down. Seriously, someone destroying a tree should not get to you that much. That just gets a bigger thrill out of the punkasses that do things like this.
    Cheer up! :-)

  • 35this35mph December 21, 2010 (6:23 pm)

    @wolfbain: Amen! That dude takes the cake. His example should give comfort to vandals everywhere.

  • sophista-tiki December 21, 2010 (7:25 pm)

    My first thought was NOT that some kids were on a vandalism spree. but rather some crusty old fart didn’t want those trees there for what ever loony reason and decided to do something about it.. When trees are taken down like this its done intentionally by someone who percieves the trees as a negative to THEM.
    The City of Seattle has a few tree nurseries and it might be possible to just get trees replaced without having a “special fund raiser”. They give out trees to residents who want to tree up the parking strips, so whats the dif if the parking strip is infront of a school.

    I’m still fighting about the 14 + mature evergreens that were taken down on the corner of my block. All because one guy didn’t want to clean the needles out of his rain gutters.
    The city also has a couple of pages on their website about the value added by urban trees.
    Each mature tree adds $60,000 /yr to the neighborhood.
    I could spit nails I’m so bugged by people who take down trees for no good reason!!!!!
    ( it was not easy for me to get through this post without LOTS of swearing)

  • Cheryl December 21, 2010 (9:21 pm)

    I loved the article shared above by @Kelly re: a trees REAL value to the block, street, neighborhood, city, etc. and agree that they are worth so much more than the few hundred $ they cost to acquire & plant. Think of how lovely these two trees would have been 10 years from now. Or 20. Stupid vandal/s. What a waste of life & air they are.

    It also made me feel even madder/sadder about the literally DOZENS of trees chopped down this month along Ambaum from White Center to Burien. Can you imagine 35th or California Ave.’s completely devoid of their current tree canopy? How ugly & stark our main arteriels would look without them. Not to mention how much more clearly we’d see some of the increasing blight of abandoned/vacant homes, former car lots, unfinished condo buildings, gaping holes & shuttered bars.

    No thanks! More trees please.

  • Carla December 21, 2010 (11:26 pm)

    My son goes to Madison. Hopefully we can get some new trees donated and planted soon. What a shame. Stupidity.

  • Charlie December 22, 2010 (9:17 am)

    I was the landscape architect for the redevelopment of Madison Middle School and we took great care in selecting the trees for this project. Some of the influence came from Montpelier, James Madison’s home in Virginia. These Tulip Trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) were just beginning to get to size. As they matured, they would have been great, stately trees to go along with a wonderful building. It is a shame.

  • JB December 22, 2010 (1:49 pm)

    Count me in on the efforts to get those stumps dug up and get the tulip trees replaced, so they are somewhat established by spring. As for this type of vandalism, it may happen again, and the school would be wise to put some cameras on them. At least that’s what we had to do “back east” a few years ago.

  • george December 22, 2010 (4:25 pm)

    And on a tree chopping note, has anyone driven on Ambaum between 128th and 148th? Burien has chopped a large number of trees off the parking strip on both sides. Roots damaging the streets? Its pretty ugly looking to see 24-36″ stumps all along the way…

    • WSB December 22, 2010 (7:35 pm)

      George – Re: the Ambaum tree chopping, we mentioned that in White Center Now coverage of a North Highline Unincorporated Area Council when Burien city leaders talked about it. They say those trees were ravaging the sidewalks and had to go, and will be replaced by trees that won’t tear up the sidewalks. FWIW … TR

  • Sue December 22, 2010 (5:54 pm)

    I am one of two Gardner at Madison on Monday night we us lost two Tulip Popler Tree.About two years ago we lost 4 Tulip Popler Tree from a Snow Mobile.The District replaces them. These tree were the last two from the New School. We are very Sad & Sick about this. This was a Hatchet job. We have left them high so we can pull a chain to pull them out. This will be done in the New Years…We are not sure the plans yet. Merry Christmas to you all.

  • (required) December 22, 2010 (11:26 pm)

    Lame. Very VERY lame. Tree choppers, turn yourselves in, apologize, dig up the old chopped tree stumps you left and re-plant replacement trees. No questions asked. Anyone want to start a reward for this?

  • george December 22, 2010 (11:36 pm)

    Thanks TR, figured as much. Some trees have to go -g/ng-

  • nulu December 23, 2010 (11:18 am)

    I decry the vandalism of the planting strip trees at Gatewood and will offer to contribute to any fund set up for their replacement.

    I read the “article shared above by @Kelly re: a trees REAL value to the block, street, etc.”

    I also read, “I’m still fighting about the 14 + mature evergreens that were taken down on the corner of my block. All because one guy didn’t want to clean the needles out of his rain gutters.
    The city also has a couple of pages on their website about the value added by urban trees.
    Each mature tree adds $60,000 /yr to the neighborhood.
    I could spit nails I’m so bugged by people who take down trees for no good reason!!!!!”

    In the city propaganda and these posts there are no balances.
    The costs and dangers of trees are never mentioned.
    When a tree is removed, it portrayed as a sin, no matter that the tree is unsafe, causing thousands of dollars of damage or too expensive to maintain.
    I assume that the person who complains about his neighbor refusing to remove needles from rain gutters does not own a large tree, because if he did he would not be speaking so ignorantly.
    Trees can be costly, dangerous and a large legal liability.
    Trees often have unintended effects such as those profesionally planted long ago to beautify Ambaum Way. Buckling sidewalks & roads, choking drains with roots, causing serious flooding with leaves clogging drains, disrupting electrical power, knocking out traffic lights, causing hill slides, destroying homes and legions of liability lawsuits are a few of the surprises.
    Trees also directly cause deaths by falling on people.

    For the value added to ones home, the general talking points might apply, in the Midwest, but in Seattle’s mountain & water view-laden hillsides, a view of a tree ranks far below.

    Ask any realtor, appraisor, view property owner or look at King County Property Tax Assessments.

    Each time we have had our home appraised, I have asked, and been disappointed, about the dollar value of our mature douglas fir, mature sugar pine and mature wild cherry that have spent the last 50 years generating complaints from neighbors.

    Just a bit of balance.

  • James January 6, 2011 (1:08 pm)

    I think it looks a lot better with out the trees.

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